With an eye on preventing serious injury like San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey suffered in 2011, Major League Baseball’s Playing Rules Committee approved a resolution over winter to ban collisions at home plate and disallow catchers from blocking the plate. Though expected to be passed, the rule has yet to be voted on and the proposed change goes against what many catchers have learned and been taught.
According to Bill Plunkett of the Orange Count Register, A.J. Ellis is among those who isn’t thrilled at the prospect of not being allowed to block the plate:
I appreciate that Major League Baseball is taking steps to make the game safer for players at my position. At the same time, I don’t like the fact that they’re taking away a potentially game-changing play for players at my position.
Fourth-year catcher Drew Butera, the son of former catcher Sal Butera, echoed a similar sentiment to Plunkett:
I understand they’re trying to protect us from injuries. … But I don’t think you’ll get too many catchers say they don’t want to protect the plate.
Tim Federowicz told Plunkett he believes standing by and allowing a run to score could determine the outcome of a game:
I don’t like it. I don’t like it at all, Tim Federowicz said of the rule banning home-plate collisions that is expected to go into effect this season. I mean, it’s a run. That could be the difference in winning or losing.
Home-plate collisions certainly come with an elevated risk of injury, but at the same time, a balance should be reached between achieving safety and granting a clear advantage to baserunners. With the rule proposal, MLB finds itself in a similar, precarious position the NFL was once in — protecting their players without significantly changing the integrity of the game.
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